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201

men approached him in a ragged half-circle. They hesitated
some twelve or fifteen feet away from him. Trevelyan glanced
from man to man around him. He put his tongue out and
ran it over his lips. " Well," he said, " if n you gonna whup
me, why don't you do hit?"

" Trevelyan," Mr. Munn went on through the cloth of his
mask, "it's not a whipping." He went closer. "It's not a
whipping," he repeated. "You tried to blackmail Sorrell.
You tried twice. Do you deny it?"

" I ain't sayen I did, and I ain't sayen I didn't," Trevelyan
answered slowly, almost meditatively.

Mr. Munn went closer. His head was thrust forward a
little as he stared at the man who formed the centre of the
tightening half-circle. "You did," Mr. Munn said. "You
took an oath and then you broke it. You were going to sell
out, Trevelyan. Weren't you, Trevelyan?"

The man made no reply. He seemed, for the moment, to
be looking across the open space toward the black woods.
Mr. Munn took another step forward. He held the pistol in
his hand now. In his hand it felt cold and foreign. "You
did, Trevelyan. You went to see Sorrell again yesterday
afternoon. You threatened him. He ordered you off his
place, and you knocked him down. Then you telephoned
that deputy and saw him and tried to make a deal with him

about turning Sorrell in, but not having to testify-----" Mr.

Munn took another step. "Didn't you, Trevelyan?"

Trevelyan replied: "You ain't skeeren me. Not none of
you. Nor air man."

" Didn't you, Trevelyan-----"

" Go on and whup me," Trevelyan said.

"Didn't you, Trevelyan?" Mr. Munn thought: I am talk-
ing to him and as long as I talk to him we will not do it, I
will not do it. That's why I'm talking to him; why don't we
go on and do it?

He looked about him at the other men. They held pistols
in their hands, but their faces were covered. It seemed to
him that only the hands holding the pistols, not those blank.